What Are the Different Uses for Raw Butternut Squash?

Cynde Gregory

Fans of raw foods cheer butternut squash for its ability to satisfy a fifth of daily fiber needs, half of the vitamin C, and a full day’s worth of vitamin A for only 60 calories. Its perky, mildly sweet crunch means it’s a joy to devour. Clever cooks have developed ways to use raw butternut squash in salads, soup, and even cookies.

Butternut squash cookies can be sweetened with maple syrup.
Butternut squash cookies can be sweetened with maple syrup.

Folks who are just learning about eating raw foods might turn up their noses at the idea of eating winter squash raw. Salad veggies like cucumbers, sweet peppers, and tomatoes are one thing, but veggies that can be stored for extended periods such as acorn or butternut squash just don’t compute as potential raw foods. Possibly the easiest way to convert these naysayers is with a raw butternut squash salad.

Raw butternut squash can be used to make soup.
Raw butternut squash can be used to make soup.

One squash salad that makes taste buds sing is a cinch to compose with golden raisins, a little minced ginger, and a splash of sherry vinegar in addition to grated raw butternut squash and some good-quality olive oil. Another equally delicious salad calls for the addition of apples and sunflower seeds and substitutes lemon juice plus apple juice for the vinegar. Creative cooks can substitute all manner of dried fruit for raisins, including cranberries, pineapple, and even blueberries.

Butternut squash is high in vitamin A and C, and it's low in calories.
Butternut squash is high in vitamin A and C, and it's low in calories.

A cool raw-food soup marries raw butternut squash with mango and banana in a blender. Orange juice adds liquid, and a few dates sweeten the soup. Curry paste or powder and some minced fresh mint provide mysterious overtones.

The gluten intolerant as well as those shunning processed carbohydrates for other reasons will be glad to know shredded butternut squash makes a glorious nonwheat pasta. Smaller squashes yield moister "noodles." A simple dressing of olive oil, minced garlic, and some fresh or dried herbs makes a fine sauce. Capers, lemon, or anchovies raise the flavor bar.

Raw butternut squash can even be used to make a nondairy raw foods cheese. Blending cilantro, olive oil, and lemon juice together with flax seeds and, of course, butternut squash is the first step. Next, the creative cook needs to scatter finely minced raw red pepper atop the resulting paste and dehydrate it for several hours. The "cheese" is perfect with sticks of celery or carrots.

There is no sweeter raw foods treat than raw butternut squash cookies so delicious everyone will forget how healthy they really are. These flavorful treats include fresh orange juice, raisins, and pumpkin seeds in addition to butternut squash. Sweetening comes in the form of maple syrup or dates. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom make these cookies brilliant.

Raw butternut squash can be incorporated into salads.
Raw butternut squash can be incorporated into salads.

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Discussion Comments

While I am certainly not averse to raw foods, I can't imagine how one would make raw cookies. Seems like a contradiction in terms. Raw cookie dough, yes, but raw finished cookies? Call me a skeptic.

However, I can see how raw butternut squash might make a good salad, and I'd certainly like to try it as noodles, since I do love pasta.

My favorite butternut squash recipe, though, is for butternut squash pie. You cook the squash, puree it and make what amounts to a pumpkin pie with it. Only it's much less stringy and pulpy. Yum.

Still, the salad recipe in the article might be enough to get me to try the butternut squash raw. It's an interesting experiment, in any case.

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